HONOLULU (KHON2) — Among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic are kupuna. To help, one Oahu woman set out to continue delivering food to communities.
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Wendy Tokumine spent more than 30 years as a public school teacher in Hawaii.
“After I retired and took care of my mother after she passed on, I felt like I needed to keep myself busy. So I took different kinds of classes and said I should also volunteer and give back to the community,” said Tokumine.
Every week, the retired teacher and her husband Rocky deliver food to other kupuna, through the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program.
“When COVID started, many of the volunteers stopped because they would be afraid they would get COVID, but it never occurred to my husband or me to quit because we felt there was a need to deliver food to these people,” Tokumine explained.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Lanakila Meals on Wheels has provided more than 371,000 meals to Oahu’s seniors. And the numbers only continue to grow.
“One of our clients passed away this July, almost 93,” she shared. “Three years ago she gave me her dog. He had a medical condition she couldn’t afford to get treated. So I said I’ll take your dog and I’ll have him treated.”
The furry friend, Simba, is now seven years old and in good health and what Mrs. Tokumine calls “the best gift.”
“There are some clients we consider as friends. We’ve gotten close over the years and we share baked goods or things I grow in my garden,” Tokumine shared.
In addition to volunteering, the Tokumine’s also donated their stimulus check to the program.
The couple has been married for almost 50 years. Tokumine says life has been good to them and she’s just trying to pay it forward and encourages others to do the same.